20140727

Juice Pulp Kale Chips

Juice Pulp Kale Chips by mikey and wendy
Juice Pulp Kale Chips, a photo by mikey and wendy on Flickr.

We have a new way of making kale chips. Juice up some kale, save the pulp and the spice it up with salt, chili powder, onion powder and some lime juice. The chips take about 12 hours to dehydrate @ 105F.

20140726

Paid Vacation

Holy Scrap readers and folks who've read my book The Good Life Lab know that Mikey and think about domestic economy often. We mull over the cost of having a job and the real cost of an organic home grown tomato, which for us is high when one considers labor, water, and such. We also admit that we don't mind the $2.00 homegrown tomato's high cost because it is paired with pleasure which is worth a lot to us. Quality of life is high on our list. This blog post is about sharing an experiment that we did while traveling in Washington State this year.

The experiment begins with a question. How does one afford a seven week vacation? Ours had some built in advantages, we had Mikey's parent's home to stay in for example. Housing is a biggie. And we did travel with the parts for Mikey to assemble and build kits that he designed as well as botanical medicinal's that I make. We shipped from the road and this provided a bit of income for us. The part of the story that is new and exciting, and that I want to share with you is about an on the road Ebay store we created as an experiment. We decided to hit yard sales and thift shops while in Washington and resell the finds. Each weekend we scoured Yard Sale, an app that scrapes on line media, places like Craigslist, and posts the yard sales with a handy map. We planned our weekends around these sales. Our goal was income while traveling. Here are the results.

Number of Weekends Worked: 4 out of 7
Gross: $4,387.88
What we spent at yard sales and thrift shops: $1,229.18
What we spent on eBay Fees: $789.82

Net: $2,368.88

These numbers are conservative, the net is higher. We didn't calculate out the merchandise that we purchased to keep for ourselves, we picked up a lot of used athletic wear and some stuff for our home in NM. Also we shipped a good deal of the merchandise we bought back home and have been selling it from here. These numbers based on the date we left Wa, a net of $600.00. When I account for the above details, we likely netted closer to $1,000.00 a week. We worked Fri, Sat mornings, listed on Sunday, shipped on Monday and spent Tuesday through Thursday hiking and being on vacation. 

The model worked for us. By gleaning off the waste stream, we enjoyed treasure hunting, met a lot of neat folks, explored neighborhoods and acquired treasures. Oh, and before leaving Wa, we took the items that did not sell and were too large to ship home for future sales, and we donated it to Goodwill. It had served its purpose. 

My summary... It's fun, and you'll pay your way while traveling. 

xo - wendy 
(Images: kitty oil painting, I mean really who wouldnt buy that!? Rescue Anne doll that we purchased and did not sell. We donated it to the local pool. And Mikey modeling a speedboat racing jumpsuit.)

20140725

Backpacking West Blue Mountain

We just returned from a two day backpacking trip to West Blue Mountain. Our friends Kyle, Jeannie, Hannah and of course Sesame came along. West Blue Mountain is one of our highest peaks reaching 10,339 feet in elevation. The hike, weather and scenery were unreal. We didn't see one other person while we were in the Apache Kid Wilderness. This loop was just over 17 miles with 3600 feet of elevation gain. These trails are not maintained so we had plenty of opportunities to climb over fallen trees and practice our orienteering skills Apache Kid Wilderness Apache Kid Wilderness Apache Kid Wilderness Apache Kid Wilderness Backpacking West Blue Mountain

20140722

Out of Place

Out of Place by mikey and wendy
Out of Place, a photo by mikey and wendy on Flickr.

During a recent trail run we discovered the water pool and boulders have all been shuffled around. Lots of rain this summer which is awesome, but it takes some getting used to.

Optimizing Our Backpacking Gear

We have made a commitment to try and get into the mountains at least 6 days a month. Part of the challenge is keeping our pack weights low enough so then experience is enjoyable. We finally hacked off the bottoms of our toothbrushes which is more symbolic than heavy. My dry pack is currently at 16 lbs and Wendy is at 15 lbs. We could drop
another 4 lbs each with some home made solutions.

20140720

DIY Cream Cheese for Ketogenic Diet

I've spent at least two years trying to figure out a way to eat that settles a bad case of reflux. I tried Ayurveda, quit caffeine, citrus, chocolate and I've been doing a crummy job of quitting alcohol. I don't want to stop drinking wine. This month I'm trying out a ketogenic diet, mostly known for it's helpful benefits to folks with epilepsy.

Ketogenic diets create a shift in the body caused by seriously low carb consumption. The body becomes efficient at burning fat instead of carbs. Logically, it's a high fat diet: 3/4 fat, less than 1/4 protein, and less than 100 grams of carbs (from non starch veggies and no fruit). This diet excludes bread, grain and all variety of wheat.

I don't have epilepsy and I'm not doing it for weight loss even though that's often the outcome of a keytogenic diet. From the very first day on the diet my belly settled down and went quiet. As far as reflux symptoms which range from pain between the rib cage to hoarse voice, and gas, the only remaining symptom after five days is horse voice and it is subsiding. Here's the fun and kinda weird part, it's "on my diet" to eat bacon, cream cheese, fish, meats, heavy cream and butter. These photos show my homemade cream cheese which was seriously easy to make and came out fantastic!

The downsides of the keytogenic diet include over acidity, constipation and dehydration. It is not recommended full time. Most folks who use the diet it use it on and off. They put in periods of high carb consumption, especially if they're athletes. To combat the constipation I made the dehydrated crackers seen in the pic out of the pulp from my juicer, flax, garlic, a roasted red pepper, and a bit of molasses. They're pretty much all fiber and they're super yummy.

I don't like extreme diets and I won't be adhering strictly to this one because I learned what I needed to from it. Fats are not a bad thing. I have become more aware of the wonderful sources for fat like nuts, avocados, and olives. What surprised me is that I can eat a lot of fat and not get fat. But more importantly, I learned about and got good at eliminating starchy carbs and sugar which has made a big difference. A week on the diet had me learning the foods that have a lot of carbs and those that have none, and it made me aware of how easy it is to consume carbs in large amounts. It takes a real effort to eat a low carb diet.

I'll send another report on this in a week or two. Meanwhile, does anyone out there have a copy of the food fermentation potential table?

20140717

Man Discovers How Unproductive He is Without Caffeine

After 10 weeks of being caffeine free I came to the realization that I was not getting much done. Certainly busy work and mindless activities were no problem, but long concentrated work sessions were not happening. Here is to my return to the bean.

Greener Juicing

Greener Juicing by mikey and wendy
Greener Juicing, a photo by mikey and wendy on Flickr.

I have been making a effort to reduce the sweetness in our juicing and increase the greens. Our last one was a mix of spinach, celery and carrot and it came out great. This was also the end of our celery plants for the summer.

More Pom Pom's on irrigation

Wendy and I transplanted three Pom Pom volunteers across the yard and setup irrigation for them. These plants quickly grow to 8' tall and provide amazing white noise. Irrigation Installation for Pom Poms

Hummingbird Nest

Humming Bird Nest by mikey and wendy
Humming Bird Nest, a photo by mikey and wendy on Flickr.

Found this while digging some trenches in the yard.

20140714

Mid-Year Book Count Check-in

It's July and I wanted to see how close I was to my goal of reading 100 books during 2014. It looks like I'm only at 36 books so I'll have to up my reading a bit. I did take nearly two month off from reading while we were traveling so I think the goal is still achievable. Thanks to Goodreads for keeping track of this.

20140712

Running - The Desert & The Rainforest

The shift from Washington State to New Mexico is radical - humidity to dry desert, canopy to open expanse. In WA I got some great elevation training. Where I run in NM its relatively flat.

Our first morning home Mikey and I went out for a run. Two days in the car left us wanting to move and exert ourselves. This morning we hit a familiar dirt road that we always enjoyed. The road was familiar but not the feeling we had running it. A short 4 mile run in the desert felt like 10 miles in Wa. Before leaving NM we'd become water efficient, I could run 10 miles on 20 oz of water, but not upon our return. I blew through 20 oz in just 4 miles. I guess this is good training for us. If we're ever to enter the big ultra races we'll have to be adept at all climates and environments. Who knows, a 50 miler in 2015? We'll see.

Things You Do With In laws: Go Shooting


High on the list of things that I don't ordinarily do is "go to the shooting range." I am no NRA card carrying member, hardly. I would be easier for me to align myself with the Quakers. In this unusual case, I went to the range to try out and get comfy with a new 9 ounce .22 calibor pistol that Mikey's dad bought us as a gift. The pistol is a great gift, its for camping, thus the light weight. It is seriously cute (in as much as guns can be cute) and it won't add excess weight to either of our backpacks. Before leaving I tried out a .45. Yikes!!!

20140711

Mesquite is Ready

Mesquite is Ready by mikey and wendy
Mesquite is Ready, a photo by mikey and wendy on Flickr.

Our delicious gluten-free wild legumes known as mesquite are ready for harvest. I started picking my first bag today.

20140706

Seeing is Believing

People see what they want to. Or maybe its more accurate to say that people see what they are able to see. Today I ran across a blog and post by a woman named Patty who had visited Truth or Consequences. Her post makes me happy, mainly because she saw creativity, art, color, and raw, simple, beauty. She saw. Not everyone does. Many who drop into T or C snarl and complain until the day comes when they're due to leave. Others love town from the start. There are some that at first say things like, "I don't really get this place." Weeks later the same person says, "I bought a house!" Locals call this whoops I bought a house syndrome.  Here's the post, enjoy! 

20140704

Meet Stuart the Chipmunk

We were on a 11.4 mile day hike in the Enchantments (near Leavenworth, WA) when we met up with Stuart the chipmunk. We call him Stuart because the first alpine lake we came across was Stuart Lake. He is into nuts.

Reb Zalman 8, 28 1924 - July 3, 2014

(paraphrased from a text by Pir Zia Inayat Khan) 

Today the world lost a great soul. Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi  passed away peacefully at his home in Boulder, Colorado, aged 89. Reb Zalman was the founder of the Jewish Renewal Movement, the mentor of numerous rabbis, and a guiding light in the lives of innumerable souls.

Reb Zalman held the Sufi rank of Shaikh in his Order. In this capacity, Reb Zalman revived the legacy of Rabbi Abraham ben Moses ben Maimon and established a Judeo-Sufi branch of the Inayati lineage known as the Maimuniyya. 


I feel lucky to have sat with Reb Zalman a few times in this life. If you knew him I know you'll reflect on his life today. If not, this may be a good opportunity to learn more about him. His legacy will surely linger.  

Image: Reb Zalman with Ram Dass

20140703

Fairy Ring

The upside to a damp, dark climate... the fairy ring of mushrooms. Usually edible but I did not chance it.